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American Studies (B.A.)

Website: School of Humanities and Global Studies

About the Major

The American Studies major encourages exploration of the history and culture of the United States as a unique multicultural mosaic functioning within an always changing global order. The program bridges many disciplines as it focuses on American society contained in its history and various expressions such as art, politics, photography, music and literature. Through an analysis of its political and social development, students gain insights into the national dynamic; through inquiry and debate students gain a perspective to evaluate the nation’s actions and beliefs, historically and culturally; and through development of critical research and writing methods, which can include internships, undergraduate publishing, and study abroad opportunities, students develop professional skills in reasoning and composition that continue with them in their professional and personal lives.

Students majoring in American Studies receive a solid grounding in American culture in history to better understand its evolution; in political structure to better recognize the forces and instruments of change; in literature to experience American society from varied perspectives; and in the pluralism of our society, with particular attention to race, gender, and ethnicity. Course clusters and sequences exist for a variety of topics including women’s studies, African American studies, global politics, and art and society.  Inherent in the American Studies major is the recognition of the nation’s developing response to the challenges and opportunities of an ever-expanding global commitment.

It is apparent, therefore, that American Studies graduates, having gained appreciation and comprehension of the changing global context, will enjoy increasing career choices as the demand for Americanists and interdisciplinary skill sets grows. Additionally, the major’s liberal arts emphasis on thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and communicating provides excellent preparation for both career entry and graduate study. American Studies graduates find employment in a wide variety of fields, including education, media, publishing, entrepreneurship,  as well as in museums and archives. Advanced degrees are most often pursued in law, business, museum studies and American Studies.

The American Studies major leads to the B.A. degree, and is offered through the School of Humanities and Global Studies.

A minor is also available.

Outcomes for the Major

Goal 1: Develop in students interdisciplinary knowledge related to American history and culture

Outcome 1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of Native American culture from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Outcome 2: Students will demonstrate an understanding of American history in terms of social diversity.

Goal 2: Develop in students the interdisciplinary skills required for American studies scholarship

Outcome 3: Students will locate primary and secondary sources relevant to topics in American studies.

Outcome 4: Students will write effective arguments using correct standard documentation practices in American studies.

Goal 3: Develop in students the ability to apply their knowledge and skills in a practical setting

Outcome 5: Students will demonstrate proficiency in museum or exhibition work.

Outcome 6: Students will demonstrate an ability to orally present their research.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Students are required to take 10 courses (40 credits) to complete this major.
  2. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below. Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  3. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major/Minor may be possible. Check with your advisor to see if any apply. You may not double count between category requirements of the major but may double count between major and general education requirements, school core, and minor requirements, etc.
  4. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing II and Studies in the Arts and Humanities.  Within the major, students must take Introduction to American Studies, Museum in America, and two of the 300-level AMER courses as indicated on the list below.
  5. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of Classes for semester course offerings.
  6. The Career Pathways Program requirements must be completed prior to graduation. Visit the Cahill Career Center.



Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Minor

Courses fulfilling the requirements for the primary or second major may count towards the requirements of the minor, but may not exceed one-half of the credits required in the minor. A School core does not need to be completed for a minor.  Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.